Younger siblings and Birthday Partys

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ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538
Younger siblings and Birthday Partys

My DD is 3 and has been invited to the birthday party of a preschool friend. As she is so young I plan to stay at the party, however, my husband just informed me that he is working overtime that day. I am thinking of asking if it is OK for my son (17 months) to tag along.

So in general terms my question is:

Is it OK to ask if younger siblings can attend a birthday that they are not invited to? Is it dependent on anything? For example age, place where party is held, etc? Is it OK at any age to simply bring a younger sibling without asking first? As the person being asked, would you provide anything extra for the younger sibling if you say yes, for example a goody bag?

Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 1626

If I were holding a party for children of an age where I would expect a parent to stay with them, I would also assume younger siblings would possibly be joining. I would make sure to have extra goody bags (though I don't do goody bags, but if I did, I'd have extra).

If my child were invited to a party that I needed to bring a younger sib to, but younger sib wasn't welcome (and I couldn't find care), we'd decline the invitation. I wouldn't be bitter about it though. It happens.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

When I held a party for my three youngest that included kids their age, their parents did ask if they could bring their siblings. I expected that and of course encouraged it since I knew the parent would be at the party as well. I also plan on extra goody bags for these kids as well and if they were participating in an event that charges by the child I would cover that expense as well since the parent is needed to be there. But it is much appreciated to be asked in advance at the time they're responding to the invite to allow me time to prep.

Joined: 10/22/06
Posts: 1033

Unless there are other younger kids at the party or my younger child were specifically invited, I wouldn't take the little. I also wouldn't ask to bring the little and put the party planner in an awkward position of having to say no (or worse, saying yes when they would rather not have a little one there). Like Jordan, if younger siblings were not included in the party and I didn't have other care for my youngest, we would just decline the invite. No harm, no foul.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4104

I think "babies" are excluded from needing an invitation, especially if my older child is at an age, or if the party is at a place, where I'm expected to supervise. I take along my own snacks, my own toys, and my "baby" doesn't need a goody bag, so it's not like the host has to accomodate us in any way. It wouldn't have even occured to me to ask about bringing a child under the age of two, and that seems to be the norm here.

For the slightly older younger siblings, 3yo & 4yo, who are going to want to be part of the action, it's nice to ask. At Tiven's 6-year birthday party, most parents asked if they should drop off their older child or bring their 3- or 4-year-old along. It was a princess party so most of the girl siblings came along, and the girls with little brothers tended to be dropped off. Blum 3 We don't do goody bags, and there was plenty of food. My party motto is the more the merrier!

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3320

In our circles, everyone seems pretty accepting that young ones...especially babies may have to tag along. Babies are easy to keep entertained without it being at the cost of the party. When they are older and more aware of what is going on and have a strong desire to participate, that would be different. I think i would ask for a 17 month old sibling, depending on what the venue is. Any older than 2, i probably would not.

So your questions:

Is it OK to ask if younger siblings can attend a birthday that they are not invited to? Is it dependent on anything?
Yes, i think its dependant on age. Under 2, i would ask. Over two, i would probably not.
I think place matters too. If it is going to be in close quarters where the baby will be so close to the action that they may insist on interfering, then I'd probably refrain from asking. If it was being held outdoors, or in an area with a parents room (there is a gym in our area that is set up like this) then its easy to bring a little one and keep them from being involved. Or if i thought it was a place that my charge for the baby's presence even though they are a baby...again, i'd probably not consider it.

Is it OK at any age to simply bring a younger sibling without asking first?
Yep, i wouldn't think twice about coming with a baby under 6 months old to any party without asking.

As the person being asked, would you provide anything extra for the younger sibling if you say yes, for example a goody bag?
If it was an age where i would consider making an extra goody bag, then i would potentially be a little put off that the mother asked. But if they did ask and i said yes....i probably would make an extra goody bag.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

I would ask and if the younger sibling wasn't able to go then I would find a sitter or not go. I feel that it is polite to at least ask.

If I were hosting I would assume that if there were younger siblings that they would come too - especially if they were babies or toddlers. I would include that on the invite/rsvp so that I would have a treat for each child. I think this will change once DD is old enough to have kid only parties. But while she is young then I am happy to have the other parents hang out and help watch the pack of small children. If that means there are a few younger ones about I am fine with that.

This year we are doing Kindergym which allows for up to 10 kids. I only have 3-5 kids to invite. One of them will have a younger sibling by then and I assume that the baby will just come along. And if there are other kids then there is still room at the party. It is one of the reasons I am choosing the place.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

If the parents are expected to stay, then I think it should be a given that younger (baby/toddler) sibs would come.

I wouldn't bring older sibs who would want to get involved and would just decline the invitation rather than ask if they could come (seems a little tacky imo), unless it was a close friend or family, but then they would be expecting the other kids to tag along. We recently declined an invite to a preschool friends party for this reason. It was at a restaurant and I don't know the people well, so would want to stay, and didn't want to bring my 3 other kids.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

Thanks for the opinions! I also agree that a baby should be expected, I just feel that DS is on the edge of that age. He is at a point where he would want to 'try' to be involved, want to eat, have a piece of cake, etc. I would supervise him of course, but I really dont want the mom to think she is obligated to say yes, or get him a goody bag, or pay more at all to have him there.

I think I will ask though as it seems generally acceptable to you ladies. I dont think they have ever seen us without him, and the girls have done alot of activities together, so for all I know, she just expects me to bring him.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

For my group of friends through our playgroup, the younger sibs are naturally included. Most of my girlfriends waited to have kids till they were in their 30's and tend to have closely spaced kids. The kids all hang out together so the younger set is automatically included as the kids are still age (oldest turning 4 now) where parents stay.

School parties would only include a baby in arms/nursling if it were a "parents stay" party.....I would not ask (a virtual stranger as the other school parents can oftentimes be) to bring my 3 year old to my son's friends turning 4 year old party if it were a school friend who my daughter had never met. That would seem rude, to me. I would either find a sitter or my older child would carpool with someone else or else he would not go.

Joined: 08/05/06
Posts: 441

We always explicitly say "siblings welcome" for our birthday parties since my kids are still little. Do people not do this when the party is for a small child? My little one is turning 2 next week (!) and for her party I would be sad if people weren't able to come because of a little sibling.

If I was in that position as a guest, I think I would ask if I could bring my other child when I RSVP'd. Is that rude? Oops. That's what I've been doing and siblings have always been welcome (and other siblings have always gone). I don't think I've been a party yet where siblings weren't expected but my older one is not even 4 yet, so maybe that's why.

Joined: 01/06/03
Posts: 1175

Neither of my kids have ever been invited to a birthday party where a parent has had to stay (unless you count family ones but then we're invited too ;))... we always asked if they preferred one of us stay but they always said no. However, should my child have been too young for me to feel comfortable leaving them alone or the hosting parent wanted my help, I would not want to bring another sibling unless their name was included on the invitation. I would leave the other child with dh, or if he was working, I would find a sitter. Personally, I do think it rather rude to expect siblings to be included, regardless of the age and I wouldn't feel comfortable putting the host on the spot (unless I knew them VERY well) by asking if it was OK to bring them.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

I think it is fine to ask. I was suprised really when my DD had a party in 2nd grade and none of the parents stayed. I bought tons of food assuming they would.

I will say that if you do bring a sibling to a party that is at a place where they charge per kid, PLEASE offer to pay for the sibling. we had a bowling party for my kids once and parents broght siblings and then just put them right in to bowl and eat pizza. I didn;t have the heart to say no so I let them but it cost me almost $150 more because of siblings. I thought that was so rude!

Strange_Cat's picture
Joined: 02/08/02
Posts: 41

I think it depends on the party venue, how well you know the party host, and the age of the "baby." I would never ask one of my children's classmates parents if I could bring siblings along, and generally around here if siblings are welcome the invite says so.

I've had parties for my kids where anybody who was old enough to eat solid food and had a plate was charged as a party guest. I have always provided pizza, drinks, cake, an entry fee for whatever activity it is, and a goody bag for all of the invitees. Examples are the local skating rink, gymnastics center, or children's museum. Most places here charge around $15-20, and I usually spend $3-5 per child on a goody bag. We usually limit the party to 20 total children. If somebody asked to bring a sibling that is old enough to want their own plate and cup, then I would likely tell them that I'd have to get back to them to see if somebody else cancelled. If I didn't have room for siblings, I'd have to say sorry. A baby that is held in the parent's arms the entire time wouldn't count, but a walking, talking toddler would.

I've also had parties where I've rented out the pool at the community center for an evening. For those invites, I state on the invitation that the entire family is welcome.

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

If it's a small baby, under 2, I wouldn't see the issue in bringing the sibling. An older child that would really participate in the activities? Yea, I would probably mention it that I needed to bring the other child as the parent had to work.